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Fairies. A man with the head of a donkey. Defiant children. Magic spells.

Love lost, found, lost, found.

Oh, there are so many reasons to adore William Shakespeare’s comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which the University of Arizona’s Arizona Repertory Theatre opens in previews Sunday.

There are those mentioned above.

Here are a few more:

The story — This is, as many of ol’ Will’s comedies are, kind of outlandish. Hermia is deeply in love with Lysander. But her pop wants to wed her to Demetrius, who Hermia’s best friend, Helena, loves. What to do but to run away to the forest? Hermia and Lysander flee; Helena and Demetrius are not far behind. But, wouldn’tchaknowit, the forest is chock-full of magic and there seems to be quite a battle going on between Oberon, the Fairy King, and Titania, the Fairy Queen. When a Fairy King is unhappy, well, things can get nasty. In this case, Oberon instructs his jester, Puck, to cause some mischief. The result is a spell that has lovers switching their alliances, friendships disrupted, and a pompous actor whose head is transformed into that of a donkey and becomes the object of the Fairy Queen’s affection. Oh, chaos reigns. As does love. And laughter.

The language — Oh, come on, it’s Shakespeare. How could you not want to run to the theater to hear talented UA students utter such lines as “Lord, what fools these mortals be.” Or — a personal favorite — “And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.”

The production — The UA is packed with accomplished student actors, costumers with great imaginations and mean skills, and set designers committed to delighting visually while telling the story. And the director for this production, Stephen Wrentmore, is a Brit — who better to shape a play by Shakespeare? 

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@azstarnet.com or 573-4128.


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